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Sermon Illustrations: Holy Spirit - His Work And Fruit

There was a young man who complained that whenever he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was like a bucket with holes. The Spirit merely drained out of him. His friend said, "That may be true, but even a bucket full of holes can be filled with water if it is immersed in the river and left there."


Bumper sticker: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?


Copying a program without the power of the Holy Spirit is like buying a car without an engine.


Mark Twain made enough money to buy his own steam ship. When coming into a town, he would often blow the whistle. He was occasionally known to blow it for so long that he ran out of power, and drifted downstream while the power built up again. Christians are sometimes like that - they use the power of God for themselves (blowing their own whistles), and then when they need it, don't have enough left.


The Holy Spirit is like a personal guide. When we set out with a map (the Law), it's fine for a while. Then during the dark you can't read the map and so you turn to the guide. How foolish to then return to the map when it is light again.


The Holy Spirit is our personal trainer. He encourages, disciplines, tells us to take a break, and keeps us on track.


Cars run on the storage principle - fuel is stored in the vehicle and then it runs out as the vehicle is driven. Electric trains run on the contact principle - they maintain contact with the source of power. Having the Holy Spirit is the contact principle.


Being under the Holy Spirit's control is like a business hanging a sign out front: Under New Management.


If you've ever tried cleaning an oven at night, it may look great then. But when the bright light of the sun comes in the morning, you see all the bits you missed. In the same way, the Holy Spirit can shine God's light on any area of your life so you can see clearly the things you would otherwise have missed.


Our life is like a house with many rooms. One by one, the Holy Spirit goes into each room and turns on the light. We have a choice. We can either respond and let Him show us what He wants, or we can try to turn off the light and keep Him out of the room. If we keep trying to turn off the light, there will come a point when He will stop trying to turn it on.


Conviction by the Holy Spirit often hurts. It's like being in a dark room for some time and having someone turn on the light. It hurts your eyes.


Coincidences are those moments when God chooses to remain anonymous. [eg. Esther, Joseph]


Talking about a friend of his, Paul Newsham related the following story: The Holy Spirit keeps a testimony in different cultures. One missionary went to an African tribe that had had little contact with white people. When he arrived, they were in the middle of a ceremony which was remarkably like our Communion. Because he was a linguist, he was able to understand a lot of what was said. When they got to the end they said, "We do this in memory of Him whose name we cannot remember." He stood up and said, "I want to tell you His name. His name is Jesus."


The Holy Spirit is like God's bazooka. We don't have to say, "Please, please, please, would you come to Jesus? God will give you everything you want " That's like seeing two bank robbers making their getaway and you say, "Please, if you drop the money I'll give you an ice cream." You're trying to catch sinners with lollipops when God has given us bazookas. Peter Youngren


The Holy Spirit empowers us against the enemy (1 Jn 4:4): A number of years ago, a movie came out called The Bear, and it went something like this: Once upon a time, there was a mummy bear and a baby bear, and they were so happy together. Then one day an accident happened and the mummy bear died, leaving the little baby bear all alone in the world. One day the poor defenceless baby bear was out minding his own business, when he was spotted by a big, mean, hungry mountain lion. The baby bear started to run; he was trapped next to the river, and jumped in. The mean and nasty mountain lion followed him downstream to where the baby bear came ashore at a crossing. The baby bear was trapped again and made a puny, squeaky sound as the mountain lion closed in for the kill. Then suddenly, the baby bear stood to his feet, opened his mouth, and there was a massive great roar. The mountain lion suddenly remembered that he had something else to do, and ran for his life, terrified. How did the little baby bear do that? The cameras panned round, and there standing behind the baby bear was the hugest, most ferocious daddy bear.


It was not uncommon in the Middle Ages for animals to be tried in courts of law. These prosecutions were based on the Biblical law of Moses which stated that, "If an ox gores a man or woman so that they die, then the ox shall be stoned and his flesh shall not be eaten". Horses, rats, pigs and even insects have been taken to court on various occasions. In 1445, at St. Julien, an action was taken against some beetles which had ravaged a vineyard. The insects declined to attend court, so the case fizzled out. In the 16th century, a clothes moth was put on trial in Spain, charged with destroying a valuable tapestry. Actually, it was innocent; it was the larvae who were the real culprits. But the moth was found guilty anyway and sentenced to have its throat cut. In France in 1314, a bull was hanged for goring a man and in 1457, a sow and her six young piglets were sentenced to death for eating a child. The sow was executed, but the piglets got off on account of their youth. Humans have passed all sorts of stupid laws - and still do. But there's never been a law against "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control".


Duncan Campbell was apparently at a conference when he had a strong feeling to go to the Hebrides. When he arrived, he made his way up to the church where the cleaner was going about his work. "What's happening here?" he asked. "We have a speaker tonight," said the cleaner. "What is his name?" "Duncan Campbell." "But I'm Duncan Campbell! How did you know I was coming?" "How did you know to come?"


An English prophet, named Graham Cooke, was praying for a man with marriage difficulties. Suddenly, God gave him a vision. He saw the man enter the Connaught Hotel, described what he was wearing, described the man at reception, described the woman he was with, and saw them take room 213. The man he was praying for turned white and started to shake. He had been having an affair with an office girl for three years.1


We treat the Holy Spirit like a Prince Consort. He isn't allowed to get ahead. He isn't allowed to keep abreast. He has to stay a few paces behind.


David Brainard, missionary to the Susquehanna, Delaware and Stockbridge Indians once preached through an intoxicated interpreter who was so drunk he could barely stand. Yet scores were converted through the preaching. Brainard's secret was his prayerfulness.


A rare visitor to an old lady who lived alone asked how she spent her time. "I begin my day by reading the Bible until I can read no more. Then I pray until I can pray no more. Then I get a hymn book and sing until I can sing no more." Then she smile and said, "Then I just sit still for the rest of the day and let God love me."


In the mid-1800s in the town of Kells in Northern Ireland, four men met each Saturday night for intense prayer. The whole night was devoted to prayer. Shortly afterwards, there was a powerful revival. Courts adjourned for lack of cases. Jails were closed for lack of criminals. Policemen formed quartets to sing in churches because they had nothing to do.


A Bible college lecturer asked his students to examine all the Scriptures they could find on the Holy Spirit and put their findings in alphabetical order. This is the list they came up with: Acceptance, ability, adoption, anointing, appointments, Boldness, blessing, Cleansing, character, comfort, commands, conviction, confidence, confirmation, counselling, conscience, Deliverance, discernment, discipling, disciplining, deposit, Empowering, enabling, encouraging, Faith, fellowship, freedom, fruit, Gifts, glory, Godhead, goodness grace, grieving, guidance, guarantee, Healing, hope, helping, holiness, Impartation, inspiration, inner witness, interpretation, Joy, judgment, Knowledge, Life, liberty, love, Miracles, New birth, Obedience, oneness, Peace, perseverance, power, prayer, prophecy, preaching, persuasion, Quickening, Release, revival, revelation, righteousness, Sanctification, the sword, sealing, sonship, strength, Teaching, truth, tongues, Trinity, transformation, Unity, utterances, understanding, Vitality, vindication, victory, Warning, wisdom, witness, X-ray vision, Youthfulness, Zeal


1 See Cooke, Graham Developing Your Prophetic Gifting p 63-64